Michigan City Works to Lay Groundwork for 5G Deployment

Bay City, Mich., has outlined procedures and requirements for installation of a small cell facility, fees, access to city right-of-way, use of city-owned poles, installation of new poles, location of facilities and more.

by Caitlyn French, MLive.com / February 6, 2020
Shutterstock/Lisic

(TNS) — As mobile systems and technologies continue to advance, Bay City, Mich., is working to get ahead of the curve by laying the groundwork to embrace 5G mobile technology.

The Bay City Commission adopted a new ordinance on Feb. 3 that aims to regulate the placement of small cell facilities and the activities of related wireless providers.

In a nutshell, 5G is the next generation mobile technology that requires infrastructure called “small cell facilities” to deploy it. Information presented to commissioners described 5G as, "The next upgrade of wireless technology, offering faster speeds, greater capacity, and better reliability.

Commissioner Jesse Docket expressed his support for 5G, citing his own struggles with an older generation of wireless tech.

“I am really excited for this," he said. "4G didn’t quite make it into my house; if you go and stand in the sidewalk it did.”

Small cell wireless facilities are defined as equipment that is not more than 25 cubic feet in volume with antennas that are not more than 6 cubic feet. Facilities need to be permitted with the city under the new ordinance.

The new ordinance outlines the procedures and requirements for the installation of a small cell facility, fees, access to city right-of-way, use of city-owned poles, installation of new poles, location of facilities, permits and maintenance and repairs.

Under the new ordinance, the city is not able to charge a wireless provider an annual rate higher than $20 annually for regular fees and $125 annually if a new utility pole or wireless support structure was erected by or on behalf of a wireless provider.

Providers also may be required by the city to provide a $1,000 bond per site, for the purpose of providing for the removal of abandoned or improperly maintained small wireless facilities.

An application fee is also specified in the ordinance of $200 for each small cell wireless facility and $300 for each facility and new utility poles to which they are attached.

All permitted small cell wireless facilities in the city are required to be labeled with the name of the wireless provider, emergency contact telephone number, and information that identifies the small cell wireless facility and its location.

Providers are also responsible for arranging and paying for the electricity used to operate small cell equipment.

Wireless providers are also required in the ordinance to comply with concealment requirements for historic, downtown, or residential zoning district.

This was the second reading of the ordinance; the first reading of the proposed ordinance was during the Jan. 21 regular commission meeting.

©2020 MLive.com, Walker, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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